Dallas Cowboys: Would a Cameron Fleming signing move La’el Collins?

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04: Cameron Fleming
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04: Cameron Fleming /

According to reports, the Dallas Cowboys will host free agent offensive tackle Cameron Fleming on Monday. Would his signing force La’el Collins back to left guard?

Last offseason, following two major losses along their offensive line, the Dallas Cowboys had to make some tough decisions. With starting right tackle Doug Free retiring after ten seasons and left guard Ronald Leary leaving for the Denver Broncos in free agency, the Cowboys suddenly had two major voids to fill.

The man stuck in the middle was third-year lineman La’el Collins, who was coming off a season-ending toe injury. Likely the greatest undrafted free agent signing in league history coming out of LSU in 2015, the Cowboys toyed at the idea of playing Collins at right tackle before cementing him at left guard.

Collins would soon overtake Leary as the team’s starter at left guard, forcing the veteran to the bench and ultimately out of Dallas.

This past offseason, the Cowboys opted to shift Collins from inside the line to outside at right tackle. The transition was anything but seamless. But after a few rocky starts, Collins began to show enough consistency at the position to believe he could become dominate in time.

With Collins now entrenched at right tackle, the Cowboys turned to former first round selection and veteran journeyman Jonathan Cooper to start at left guard. Cooper performed admirably during his time in Dallas, but the position was undoubtedly the weakest along this uber-talented offensive line.

With Cooper currently being a free agent, the Cowboys are now on the hunt for both a starting guard as well as a key reserve, a swing tackle.

The first possible candidate to fill one of those roles will reportedly visit the Cowboys on Monday and Tuesday, free agent tackle Cameron Fleming. A former fourth round selection out of Stanford in 2014, the 6-foot-6, 320 pound Fleming has spent the past four years as a member of the New England Patroits. The 25-year old native Texan made 20 starts during his time with the Pats and played at both right and left tackle last season.

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Although Cameron Fleming is capable of playing at guard as well, some believe the free agent would usurp La’el Collins as the Cowboys’ starting right tackle if he was signed. And that Dallas would move Collins, once again, back to left guard. Certainly that option would be open to them. But if I were the Dallas Cowboys, I would make every effort to keep Collins in place at right tackle simply due to the tremendous progress he showed over 2017.